O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
(O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, United Methodist Hymnal, #211)
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, we read this prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (7:14).
Immanuel. That Hebrew word ‘immanu’el means “God with us.” The Israelites had been waiting for centuries for their Messiah– their rescuer, their ‘immanu’el— to arrive. That’s why we sing each year as Christmas approaches: “O come, Emmanuel!” With these words, we invite our God to come and be with us today.
That is what the season of Advent is about. It’s a time to celebrate the coming of Jesus, to remember the events that led up to his birth on that first Christmas, and to rejoice in all that God has done in our lives. Advent is a time of preparation, of introspection, of great joy, and of anticipation. I pray that you would enjoy this four-week journey to Christmas!
What are you looking forward to the most this Advent season?